The year of the political Latino celebrity, starring Eva Longoria
Eva Longoria addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
October 5th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

The year of the political Latino celebrity, starring Eva Longoria

Editor’s note: In America follows the fight to win an essential voting bloc in Nevada, a battleground state with one of the fastest-growing Latino populations in the nation. Soledad O’Brien reports in “Latino in America: Courting Their Vote” on CNN TV at 8 p.m. ET Sunday.

By Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN

(CNN) - Eva Longoria is considered one of the most politically involved celebrities in this election cycle. But it's not a new role for her. She has been politically active for 20 years now, and it all started in high school.

“My government and economics teacher gave us a project where we all had to volunteer during the election. We could choose whatever party, but we had to volunteer and help register people to vote. It was part of our grade,” Longoria said. ”So I caught the political bug from there.”

That was when the "Desperate Housewives" star was a 17-year-old student at Roy Miller High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, during the first Clinton presidential campaign.

Years later, she was quite vocal during President Barack Obama’s 2008 bid, and this year she is co-chairwoman on his re-election campaign.

Beyond Longoria, it seems like 2012 has become the ultimate year of the politically active Latino celebrity, with the likes of Rosario Dawson working very closely with Voto Latino, a nonpartisan organization aimed at bringing diverse voices in the political process to promote positive change.

Grammy-winning singer Marc Anthony sang the National Anthem at this year’s Democratic National Convention, and Pitbull and Jessica Alba hosted the closing night festivities. Emmy-winning actor John Leguizamo also attended the DNC, stating, “Obama creates the egalitarian, equal-opportunity America that I love to be a part of, and it made me who I am today."

"Ugly Betty’s" America Ferrera launched America4America.org, a civic engagement campaign under Voto Latino aimed at educating Hispanics on key issues in the presidential election and motivating them to get involved in the process.

This week, stars including Wilmer Valderrama, Demi Lovato and Dania Ramirez starred in a hilarious Voto Latino PSA to inspire Latinos to go out and vote.

For Longoria, there is still work to do.

Even while traveling across the country educating voters on policies and issues - specifically the Latino and women’s communities - Longoria continues to come across voter apathy.

“There are a lot of people who think, ‘Eh, I won’t vote, because my vote won’t matter,’ but it does. Every vote matters. Citizens are being subjected to attack ads and misinformation, so you can’t really base your decision on all of that propaganda,” Longoria said. “You have to really be knowledgeable and literate on what each candidate stands for.”

The potential engagement is huge. A recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center found that more Latinos, a record 24 million, will be eligible to vote in November’s election than ever before. Latino voter turnout remains to be seen, but until then, Longoria won’t let the numbers hold her back.

soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. dan

    I wonder how much of the taxpayer's money is paid to these celebrities in appearance fees by the DNC.

    October 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dan

    Just curious which politician she has been sleeping with this week.

    October 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jorge

    By all accounts, from all the anti-celebrity posts I've read, neither Ronald Reagan, Sonny Bono, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Ted Nugent should have ever gotten involved in politics, and they would be RIGHT.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. WhiteLatino

    According to a Pew Hispanic survey, 36% of Latinos identify their race as white. Remember, Hispanic/Latino is an ethnicity, not a race.

    October 8, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. aurelius

    I seem to recall she dropped by my house a couple of times.

    October 8, 2012 at 6:13 am | Report abuse |
  6. nokat

    Eva Longoria doing an "act" speech for Obama?? why would he think she can help him?

    she needs to go home, she has nothing to offer

    October 8, 2012 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  7. beez

    i clicked on this article because i saw longoria and thought they were talking about the baseball player. i have no interest in what eva has to say about anything.

    October 7, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Beatlearl

    She's not only just good looking,but smart also.

    October 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. me

    Eva Longoria is a lady I can get behind!

    October 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jamie

    Romney ......... No honesty No integrity

    October 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jamie

    Romneyhood ....... Give to the Rich take from the poor

    October 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JIMMYK


    October 7, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  13. ken

    Take a look at the two candidates. How can Romney actually beat Obama when Romney clearly can't be trusted. Where can he get the money that he proposes should be spent like the defense money. At current levels it cannot be financially sustained. Vote Obama for honesty.

    October 7, 2012 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
    • silly nannies

      Did you just call a political leader honest? And the award for most uneducated goes too....

      October 7, 2012 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Logtaads2

      You've got to be kidding.

      October 7, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. wsal

    I'm sleepy now.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    October 7, 2012 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. Elie khouri

    Actors should stick to acting , who cares about their political opinion .

    October 6, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • JOHN

      Another brainwashed individual... people feeding their children to the liberal, humanistic govt. school system, thus they fall in line with that pattern of thought. The poor Latino and African America communities are being destroyed by Dems. policy, and morality. The spirit of denial is strong among their people. They hear the Reps. are for the rich and the Dems. are for the poor, and lacking investigative tools or desire they pull the leaver. Look at the condition, esp. in the inner cities where the Dems. rule over these poor people. It is a shame to witness the confusion and destruction of so many people. People who have allowed themselves to be brainwashed into their own destruction.

      October 7, 2012 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
      • inthemidl

        @JOHN – No, Juan%, that would the far right wingnuts that listen to Fox News at is run by the GOP and have analysts that are employed by the GOP. Unless your income is $250K or more, the GOP party is not for you and your individual rights (sans the gun issues).

        October 7, 2012 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
      • silly nannies


        Umm no, how about if you want to stay employed as a soldier the Republican side is the side you want. What has Obama brought to the table? 7.8% (his best unemployment rate to date)? Yeah, that's working terrific for us guys living under the 250K line. Go ahead and do your blame Bush routine for the economic collapse even though the housing bubble was caused by Clinton.

        October 7, 2012 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  16. ironman666

    it is really time to teach on these celesbrity's a real listen you should be seen not heard boycott all there show's and movies who think this bum of a president and giving him dinners and money hit thim were it really hurts there pocket who are these people think they shoving this bum down our throught this man has done nothing not one thing to be reelected for any thing time for obummer to go we cant aford him any more

    October 6, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  17. JL

    Do Not Vote one way or the other because a celebrity says so. People should be self-determining. I'm not voting one way or the other because of Clint Eastwood or George Clooney. So to with Eva.

    October 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Cory

    Since when does being a celebrity mean you can't be intelligent? I suggest looking up some of her videos where she is seriously discussing issues. She's actually quite intelligent.

    Besides, Ronald Reagan was an actor. Yes, the most idolized Republican President since Lincoln. If you think "corporations are people, my friend" then you have to understand that celebrities are too.

    October 6, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  19. chica#1

    I am sick and tired of actors telling me how to vote – like act like they have some special power. I am a Mexican American and I will not be voting for Mr. Obama. He is not the right person to run this country. (He did not even make time to meet with world leaders. He was to busy attending a party with celebrities.)

    October 6, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  20. 1twinsfan

    Two thirds of the Hispanics/Latinos in the US are eligible to vote but look at how they are treated. Here on these boards there are slurs, name calling and xenophobia run amok. And the GOP says to them "Look! We have one – Rubio. See." and then talks of deporting them the next minute. That is until they discover the person is a 5th generation Chicano that will vote and then it's "hey, will you vote for me? Sorry about that deporting thing. I'm sure you understand."

    The Spanish came here in the 1500s and never left. Where do you suppose name like Los Angeles and El Paso came from.

    October 6, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • gstranyord

      well, if you are not legally here then you should be deported. any other country on earth would do exactly the same thing.

      October 6, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
      • 1twinsfan

        Ah yes, because the US should so be deporting people who are citizens. Illegals do not vote. The last place an illegal would be on election day is a polling place. And your comment proves my point about how American Hispanics are being treated right now.

        October 6, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Earl

    Its amazing that we have become a country that believes that insults prove a pont. we teach oue children that name calling is bad and turn around and do the very thing we speak against. The problemwith this country is the gap between what we say and what we do. This includes politicians all of whom lie and say one thing and do another. My point how about some real suggestions on plugging the holes in this sinking ship.

    October 6, 2012 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
  22. scranton

    So are we to value her judgment in choice of politics as her choice in husbands? Naive at best.

    October 5, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • 1twinsfan

      Because the the GOP family values brigade is so upright with such members as Rudy and Newt?

      October 6, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  23. Hollywood

    What a ridiculous story.

    October 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  24. mccortez

    The 40th president of the United States, radio, TV, and Hollywood actor. Does it ring a bell? Hollywood has always been in politics. What more than a president? + governors, mayors, etc. Look them up. Talk about being uneducated.

    October 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  25. forreal89

    wow an uneducated actress in politics

    October 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • KeninTexas

      asdrel says "Uneducated? She has a BS degree in Kinesiology" ,,,, Do you even know what Kinesiology is about? It's the study on how to do exercises. Are you kidding me? Do you think this gives her deep insight into political issues? Wipe the star dust out of your eyes and learn the issues for yourself instead of depending on these Hollywood types to do it for you. That is what these people are depending on, your getting caught up in the flash and glitter and not doing your own thinking.

      October 7, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • scranton

      Eva's choice in politics is very similar to her choice in husbands.

      October 5, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • J

      I rather trust Eva's word then someone who puts down people and complains.

      October 6, 2012 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
    • gstranyord

      it hurts your argument when you talk about education levels and you spell education wrong...hahahaha..

      October 6, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  26. bigdumbdinosaur

    Eva who? Why should I listen to her?

    October 5, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Just a Desperate Whitehouse Wife

    Eva Longoria along with all liberal celebrities operate from an idealistic bubble with no regard to common sense or history. They come across as unintelligent and misguided.

    October 5, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • lionel

      I am a Latino and I find your comment to be very unintelligent.

      Eva is a very smart woman and she is for the party who has supported Latinos. We are not going to self-deport.

      Latinos for Obama 2012

      October 5, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • null

        What, exactly, does race have to do with it? By playing the race card, you come across unintelligent and misguided. OH, and since I"m black and not voting for 0bama, does that make ME unintelligent and misguided? By your "standards," I suppose so...

        October 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Celebrities should stay in Hollywood looking pretty and disoriented

    It is an insult to my intelligence when a celebrity tells me what or for whom should I vote. A bunch of Hollywood Bimbos trying hard to look smart. It's not working and it will never work. Eva, ask Obama to find you another job in Hollywood.

    October 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  29. herb3

    She ought to run for President in 2016

    October 5, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eva, should ought to run for the border of Mexico

      What she is looking is power for her, maybe she wants to be in Obama cabinet, is he is re-elected. She wants illegals to get the benefits: medical insurance, food stamp etc., the same as the legal people in this country. Why don't you take them to your house and feed them.

      October 5, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • jesusbracho

        She is fine as hell. That's all I see

        October 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jorge

        Maybe YOU should run for the Canadian border, reenroll in school, and learn how to write in ENGLISH.

        October 9, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
      • 1twinsfan

        Why would an American citizen run for the border? Don't let xenophobia guide you.

        October 6, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  30. markus

    You are not racist if you are a minority, right?

    October 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  31. ME

    Celebrities opinions matter more than ours because they're famous. Actually, it has been my experience that actors usually sound a lot smarter when they stick to saying things that writers have written for them.

    October 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |

    I really don't care when a so called 'celebrity' send letters begging for money for their political candicate, I just delete it.
    Eva Langoria , have never visited other Latino communicties, she only visit the illegal Mexicans , now she is asking us for money and vote, get lost , Eva. We are smarter than you and we decide by ourselves for whom to vote and we do not need your stupid help.

    October 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  33. manuel martinez

    Sorry but reading your comments i see how stupid people are. The point is that if you like are president we need to vote for him latino is every one that talks spanish lets no make this election about races i am your brother and sisters keeper we all work for the same thing and that is to make a better life for are kids do your research read but come November vote

    October 5, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  34. chilly g

    anybody can be a latino, but the real latinos are indians or native americans.

    October 5, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Marcelo

      A person is not Latino because of a race, Latinos are people that speak Spanish,French, Italian and Portuguese, because these languages come from Latin. And Spanish speaking people are also Hispanics, because of their language...

      October 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dez

      Those would be the real "Americans". Latino's are just folks of Latin American descent who are comprised of folks of all races and mixes. Many do in fact have a lot of Native American blood. The descendents of Native peoples and Spanish immigrants.

      October 5, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • WIMPY38

      That's one of the most stupidest things I ever heard on a post. Latino refers ancestry from the countries in Europe who spoke "Latin" Such as Spain, Italy, and France in the middle ages. Indians are NOT from Europe.

      October 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Hal Atosis

    I thought CNN defined Latinos as "white".

    Does that mean we really have white history month too?

    October 5, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Well some are white, some black, some indigenous, some Jewish, some Asian, some middle eastern, and some mixed. There is no "Latino" race. That is why every country in Latin America has a race census just like here in the US.

      Latino as a race is garbage you only hear in the US.

      October 5, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
      • WhiteLatino

        Accourding to the Pew Hispanic survey, 36% of Latinos identify their race as white. Half (51%) identify their race as "some other race" and 3% say their race is black. Hispanic/Latino is an ethnicity, not a race. Many who identify themselves as Latino only speak English. Hope this clears up some of your misconceptions.

        October 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bobpitt

        DON"T TELL THEM.. it confussES the hell out most Americans when they see a black, and asian ,an indigenous person and me (half french) and we tell them "WE ARE LATINOS"

        October 5, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
      • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

        Human is the only race we are...well, okay, some individuals are sub human.

        October 5, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dez

        I think overall most "Latinos" or "Hispanics" just identify with their country of origin. Blame the U.S and their census for coming up with the "Hispanic" label and telling people that no matter their race, they must check "Hispanic/Latino" on the census form. I think the whole "Latino" as race is popular among folks of mixed origin. They don't have to go out of their way to give someone a history lesson before explaining how they're mixed. Besides racial labels are both inclusionary and devisive. So what you choose is how you wish to be or are perceived.

        October 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
      • Marcelo

        Daniel: a person is not Latino because of a race, Latinos are people that speak Spanish, because Spanish comes from Latin (French, Italians, Spaniards and Portuguese are also Latinos).

        October 5, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  36. Albert E

    I just love racist celebrities, they don't vote on platform or whats best, they vote on skin color like the millions of whites who voted for Obama because he was the 1st Black President and they wanted to be a part of History to include the 96% of Blacks who have done the same. I remember in 2008 Blacks and Democrats were scared that whites would not vote for Obama and if they did not whites were RACIST. WHAT SWINE THE DEMOCRATS ARE!!!!!!!

    October 5, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      What seething hatred you seem to have. You know,that will destroy you from the inside, right?

      October 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dez

      "I just love racist celebrities, they don't vote on platform or whats best, they vote on skin color...."

      That would only make sense if Eva Langoria supported republican candidates before switching Democratic once then Senator Obama was on the ticket. If you read the article it states that she got into politics back when then Governor Bill Clinton was running for office. So it's obvious that she's a democrat who votes along party lines. There is nothing racist about that. Had then Senator Hilary Clinton won the nomination four years ago, I'm sure you'd be posting how she's supporting Hilary because she's a woman.

      October 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lion Head

      Keri you're the most brilliant white lady I have ever met on this blog. I love your wisdom and insight. You are highly blessed among the white folks.

      October 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kerri

      Right on eezyville!
      I am a white middle aged woman who voted for Obama in 2008 and will vote for him again this November. Not because he was the first Black President, but because I think he is the right person for the job.

      October 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      "minorities vote based on skin color or race not on the best or most qualified candidate"

      Sop do white conservatives. Your point? Oh, you have none.

      October 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • cardopa1

      You miss the point – it seems minorities vote based on skin color or race not on the best or most qualified candidate. He is not making racist comments and want everybody to be like him. Just vote with your brain.

      October 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lion Head

      The same white man turned around to frustrate every effort Obama has to make to move America forward because they thought they made a mistake giving an opportunity to a black man to exhibit his intellectual superiority over the white man. No wonder they conspired and vowed that they must make him a one term president by the instruments of white majority Republicans in the house. They will fail again because the spirit of racism must die in America.

      October 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |